Fri. Feb 26th, 2021

Power of poetry: Siphokazi Jonas to deliver bespoke poem at Sona 2021

South African poetry powerhouse Siphokazi Jonas will perform one of her works ahead of the annual State of the Nation address.

power of poetry siphokazi jonas to deliver bespoke poem at sona 2021 - Power of poetry: Siphokazi Jonas to deliver bespoke poem at Sona 2021

Siphokazi Jonas has been invited to deliver a two-minute bespoke work before President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers his State of the Nation (Sona) address this week.

The address will take place at 7pm on Thursday. It will be broadcast on eNCA, SABC and Newzroom Afrika, and on a handful of DStv channels.

Siphokazi Jonas a powerful voice for South Africa

siphokazi jonas2 - Power of poetry: Siphokazi Jonas to deliver bespoke poem at Sona 2021
Siphokazi Jonas has appeared alongside some of South Africa’s best-known performers. Image: Supplied

As writer and performer, Jonas has produced multiple one-woman poetry shows in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

She has been a featured act at numerous poetry sessions and festivals around the country. Her experience with spoken word and performance has led to multiple invitations to judge poetry slam competitions in Cape Town and Johannesburg. 

Jonas is co-producer of the #WeAreDyingHere short film. The film is an adaptation of a stage production by the same name, which she co-wrote and directed.

Watch as Siphokazi Jonas talks about #WeAreDyingHere:

Siphokazi Jonas a regular collaborator with musicians

Jonas was born in Komani (previously Queenstown) in the Eastern Cape. She has performed her poetry alongside renowned musicians including Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse, Freshlyground, Pops Mohamed, Dizu Plaatjies and Dave Reynolds.

Just recently, she was also a keynote speaker at Music Exchange 2020, the tenth year of the conference.

Taking SA poetry to an international stage

Siphokazi Jonas made history in 2016 as the first African poet to perform at Rhetoric in Los Angeles, California, the biggest Christian spoken word event in the world. 

In 2016, she was the runner-up for the Sol Plaatje European Union Award. 

Education a key focus area

She was a teaching assistant at the University of Cape Town from 2015 to 2017, and lectured part-time on South African literature and isiXhosa oral poetry. 

She is the English poetry editor for the New Contrast journal. Jonas also works online as the performing arts director of an elementary school in Gainesville, Florida, in the US.

Jonas has an MA degree in English literature and an undergraduate degree in drama and English.


SONA 2021: Start time, how to watch live, and changes caused by COVID-19

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